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HDI, CSOs urge government to leverage PPP in bridging infrastructure gap in education

The Human Development Initiatives (HD1), a Lagos-based non-profit organisation that ensures good governance and accountability in basic education in collaboration with some of the civil society organisations (CSOs), working for in the educational sector has urged the federal government of Nigeria and the 36 states of the federations to leverage public-private partnership (PPP) in bridging the infrastructure gap in Nigeria’s educational sector.

“I believe that we can do a lot more around public-private partnership to ensure that some of these infrastructure gaps are bridged. Then also I think the government should do more in allocating resources to the education sector, especially basic education,” said Johnson Ibidapo, programs officer, HDI, at the critical stakeholders meeting on finding a lasting solution to the problems of out-of-school children held in Lagos.

According to Ibidapo, the essence of the meeting was to bring together critical stakeholders working in the education sector to dialogue on the major challenges confronting the sector. He posits that the CSOs, HDI and the media converge on Lagos to chart a way forward particularly with dealing with the issues of access, trust and the challenges of out-of-school children and will try to proffer solutions to some of the identified issues. “We are looking at creating a synergy with the media, CSOs on finding a lasting solution to the challenges in the education sector. We must find a common front in dealing with the issues bedeviling the education sector,” Ibidapo said.

According to him, Lagos state is a peculiar state when it comes to out-of-school children because of the daily migration into Lagos. “Enroll six today, ten more will come in,” said Ibidapo. However, he also believes that one of the biggest things that can be done is for the government to open up the space for more collaboration for other private investors who can invest in education, particularly to support infrastructural development.

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“If 10 percent of all the children who are out-of-school today should be brought back fully one day; our current infrastructure cannot accommodate them, and that is the reality. So, the government is working hard, however, we want to admonish them to collaborate more with other private sector stakeholders and investors who can help to bring up more school buildings, infrastructure and even make more roads accessible in some other areas because there are some schools in some areas that are good but are not accessible because of the topography of the area, which is against some of the children and their parents,” Ibidapo further said.

Bolanle Dare, the senior program officer of HDI, said the consensus of the meeting was that the government had achieved some success but more needs to be done to monitor the utilisation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) funds and also to reduce the number of out-of-school children in Lagos.

According to her, the CSOs identified ‘access and trust’ as the major hindrance for many of the stakeholders working to better the input/output delivery of education outcomes in government owned schools. Accessibility to schools for children living in riverine areas was also noted as one of the factors influencing the rate of out-of-school children.

Another challenge noted to have been responsible for the rate of out-of-school children was that many parents do not know the right offices to approach in order to get their children enrolled into government-owned schools. “Corruption in the admission processes to government-owned schools was also linked to the rate of out-of-school children in Lagos,” said Dare.

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